A 1,800-year-old military medal with the head of Medusa on it was discovered by archaeologists in Turkey on Monday.
In Greek mythology, Medusa is one of the three Gorgons. According to myth, Medusa has hair made of serpents and turns anyone who looks at her into stone.
The mythology tells of how Athena, the goddess of wisdom, put Medusa's head on her shield and breastplate after she had been beheaded, but she isn't the only goddess to be depicted this way. Zeus, king of Olympus and other gods such as Ares, god of war, were also depicted with Medusa emblazoned on their shields.
Why was Medusa depicted on armor and shields?
“The medal with a Medusa head appears as an award given to a soldier for his success,” said the Director of the Adiyaman Museum Mehmet Alkan.
“It is a medal that a soldier wears on his shield during a military ceremony," he added.
"We found a 1,800-year-old military diploma here during the excavations last year, and we also associate the medal with military service.”Mehmet Alkan
The medal was found in the city of Perre which is one of the five big cities that were part of the ancient Greco-Iranian kingdom of Commagene.